Why Dalvin Cook can be a difference-maker for the Ravens in 2024 playoffs

Before you jump to conclusions, know that this is the best possible situation for the veteran.

Baltimore Ravens, Dalvin Cook
Baltimore Ravens, Dalvin Cook / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Earlier this week, the New York Jets released veteran running back Dalvin Cook as more of a courtesy. In effort to give him a shot at signing with a contender, the Jets cut ties. Not even a day later, and the Baltimore Ravens scooped him up.

It's no secret that the Ravens needed help at running back. In fact, it's become a running theme in Baltimore.

Since 2021, the Ravens have given carries to 12 -- yes, twelve -- running backs due to injuries at the position. In each of those three seasons, Baltimore hasn't finished lower than 6th in rushing. In 2021, they finished 6th. In 2022, they finished 2nd. And, this year, they're the league leader.

If ever there was a team that Dalvin Cook could have success with at this point in his career, it's the Ravens.

Really, the biggest reason why Cook could have success in Baltimore is because of that fact the Ravens have been accustomed to using a variety of running backs over the last few seasons. Because of injuries, Baltimore has seen the likes of several backs carry the rock since 2021.

In that time period, the Ravens have given carries to: J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Keaton Mitchell, Melvin Gordon, Kenyan Drake, Mike Davis, Latavius Murray, Ty'Son Williams, Le'Veon Bell, Trenton Cannon and Nate McCrary.

That is quite the list of running backs, filled with both young and old names, along with well-known and lesser-known guys. It hasn't mattered, though. The Ravens continue to run the football well, no matter who is in the back field.

The secret sauce?

Of course it's Lamar Jackson. He's become a more balanced quarterback over the years, but that still hasn't taken away from his ability to use his legs. Defenses are still worried about him taking off. There isn't a snap in which a defensive unit won't have that in the back of their mind when playing Baltimore.

Because of Jackson's unique skill set, it allows virtually any running back to have some success if given a decent amount of work. Cook might have looked washed in New York, but the Jets also have holes on the offensive line, maybe the worst quarterback situation in the league and haven't been consistent in their running back usage.

I would not be surprised to see Cook have a resurgence and become a legitimate factor in the playoffs.